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Bruce Johnson

(Emerson )

(b Melbourne, Australia, Jan 4, 1919; d Melbourne, Australia, June 17, 2008). Australian trumpeter, washboard player, composer, singer, and bandleader, brother of Graeme Bell. He first worked as a drummer, then in 1938 began to play cornet. Having worked in Melbourne with his brother at Leonard’s Café, he briefly led the band at Heidelberg Town Hall (1943), where he recorded with a visiting Max Kaminsky, before Graeme Bell returned from Queensland to take over the group’s leadership. He remained in Graeme’s dixieland groups during their European tours (1947–8, 1950–52), after which he worked with Max Collie (1953) and in the house band at the Melbourne Jazz Club (from 1958). Bell was active as a freelance musician and led his own band, the Pagan Pipers (a name he had used first in 1949), which with various personnel (notably Len Barnard and Ade Monsbourgh) performed and recorded for many years; among its recordings were a number of Bell’s own compositions. His playing may be heard to advantage on ...


Mark Gilbert

[John Symon Asher ]

(b Bishopbriggs, Scotland, May 14, 1943; d Suffolk, October 25, 2014). Scottish bass player, singer, and composer. Having studied for three months at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow he moved to London, where he played with Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated (late 1962 – early 1963) and then formed a group with Graham Bond, John McLaughlin, and the drummer Ginger Baker; this became known as the Graham Bond Organisation after McLaughlin left and Dick Heckstall-Smith joined. Bruce arrived in London as a jazz purist and had at first played double bass, but after using an electric bass guitar for a recording session with Ernest Ranglin in 1964 he transferred to that instrument and studied the mobile, melodic style of the Motown house bass player James Jamerson. The following year Bruce left Bond’s band because Baker felt that his bass playing was too busy and joined John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. He is best known as the bass guitarist, singer, and principal composer with the highly successful blues and rock group Cream (...


David Flanagan

(b Seattle, Feb 11, 1914; d Riverside, CA, June 21, 2002). American songwriter, arranger, pianist, and singer. His parents were vaudeville artists, and he learned piano from an early age. He played piano in Horace Heidt’s dance band in 1933, but for much of the 1930s worked in Hollywood as a nightclub singer and pianist and as a vocal coach for band singers. In the early 1940s he was composer and arranger for Tommy Dorsey and wrote a number of hit songs for the band which were performed by Frank Sinatra. During World War II he played briefly in Glenn Miller’s orchestra. Thereafter he worked principally as a nightclub entertainer, and issued some recordings under his own name, including Matt Dennis Plays and Sings (c1957, Kapp 1024). Dennis also arranged music for radio programs (1946–8), appeared in films and on television, and composed the song ...


Reg Cooper and Barry Kernfeld

(Joseph )

(b Chicago, Oct 10, 1921; d Montclair, NJ, August 2, 2002). American singer, pianist, and arranger, brother of Irene Kral. While working with a quartet in Chicago he met the singer Jackie (Jacqueline Ruth) Cain (b Milwaukee, 22 May 1928; d Montclair, N.J., 15 September 2014), with whom he formed a duo, Jackie and Roy. They joined Charlie Ventura in 1948; Kral, who was also Ventura’s pianist, contributed many excellent arrangements to the band, including Flamingo and Pennies from Heaven. After leaving Ventura the couple married in June 1949, formed a bop sextet, then in 1950 moved to Chicago, where they appeared in their own television show. Their musical collaboration was interrupted by the birth of two daughters (Anita O’Day temporarily took Cain’s place in the first instance) during the 1950s, but nonetheless they returned to Ventura for eight months in 1953 and worked as a duo in New York, Las Vegas (...


Megan E. Hill

(b Osaka, Japan, 1957). Jazz and blues pianist, singer, and composer of Japanese birth. She took piano lessons briefly as a child and was exposed to the blues while growing up in Osaka in the 1960s and 1970s. As a high school student, she formed the Yoko Blues Band with classmates. The band earned some success, winning first prize and a recording contract in a television-sponsored contest. In 1984 she moved to the United States to pursue a jazz and blues career in Chicago. Initially a singer, she studied piano with boogie, blues, and jazz pianist Erwin Helfer. In the early 1990s Noge established the Jazz Me Blues Band, which has played regularly in Chicago since its formation. In addition to Noge on piano and vocals, the ensemble has included Noge’s husband, Clark Dean, on soprano saxophone, saxophonist Jimmy Ellis, trombonist Bill McFarland, and bassist Tatsu Aoki. In addition to playing more conventional jazz and blues, Noge has made a name for herself through the unique compositions she has written for the group, which meld Japanese folk music styles with Chicago blues. Active in the broader Asian American community, she cofounded the Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival in ...


John Shand

[Miklos Jozsef ]

(b Budapest, May 8, 1948; d Sydney, February 4, 2008). Hungarian and Australian composer, arranger, electric bass guitarist, and singer. He studied classical piano and violin. By the time he was in his early twenties he was a significant influence in Hungarian rock music, though his band Syrius, which toured Europe and then Australia in 1970–71, incorporated jazz concepts. In 1974 he returned to Australia and recorded his first jazz album. He took dual citizenship in 1979. While he worked mainly within the soul genre, Orszaczky regularly used jazz musicians in his bands, and thereby proved an enormous influence on the composing, arranging, producing and bandleading skills of a generation of Sydney-based musicians. Some of his bands, such as the Hungarian Rap Sadists and Industrial Accident, were more unclassifiable and experimental in nature. In the late 1990s his Orszaczky Budget Orchestra performed compositions by Albert Ayler and Eddie Harris alongside those of the soul singer James Brown and Orszaczky himself....


Michel Laplace

[Jeannine ]

(b Paris, Feb 2, 1926; d Paris, Nov 16, 2010). French pianist, singer, and arranger. She began her career as the leader of a trio and in 1956 recorded as a pianist and singer. Around the same year she joined the Blue Stars, of which she remained a member until 1958; she also recorded with the pianist Christian Chevallier (1959). She is best known for having led the Double Six (1959–66), with which she made recordings (including Dizzy Gillespie et les Double Six, 1963, Phi. 200106); she also appeared in Martin Ritt’s film Paris Blues (1961). From 1968 she lived in the USA. Perrin’s style was strongly influenced by the work of King Pleasure and Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross.

Feather '60s J. Tronchot: “Ce chant qui jouent, cette musique que chantent les Double Six … cette bande de copains terribles,” Jh, no.171 (1961), 16...


Chip Henderson

[Masawwir, Damu Mustafa Abdul ]

(b St. Matthews, SC, Feb 2, 1942). American electric guitarist, bandleader, composer, and vocalist. Ulmer grew up in a musical family. By the age of four he began to learn the guitar from his father. From the ages of seven to thirteen he played guitar and sang with his father’s gospel group, the Southern Sons. Ulmer moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1959 and began to immerse himself in the city’s rhythm and blues scene. From 1959 to 1964 Ulmer performed with the Del Vikings, the Savoys, and Jewel Brenner’s Swing Kings. In 1964 he moved to Columbus, Ohio. From 1964 to 1967 he studied jazz and performed with organist Hank Marr. Ulmer relocated to Detroit, Michigan, in 1967 and began his tenure with soul-jazz organist “Big” John Patton. During his time in Detroit (1967–71) Ulmer became interested in contemporary rock styles, including the music and tonal innovations of guitarist Jimi Hendrix. Soon after Ulmer moved to New York City in ...